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Attorney: Convicted Insurance Heir Plans Appeal

December 1, 1987

HOUSTON (AP) _ An insurance heir convicted of defrauding his family’s charitable foundation of about $1.5 million plans to appeal, his attorney says.

″Naturally, we are disappointed with the jury’s verdict,″ lawyer Marian Rosen said after a federal court jury Monday convicted Galveston insurance heir Shearn Moody Jr. of 17 counts of wire and mail fraud.

″On to the 5th Circuit,″ she said, referring to federal appeals court.

Moody, 54, showed no emotion as the verdict was read, and later spoke only briefly with reporters outside the courthouse.

″I have felt this thing was programmed for a long time,″ Moody said. He did not elaborate.

Outside the courtroom, Moody shook hands with co-defendant Howell Willis of Dallas, who was acquitted on all four charges he faced.

″I’m very glad you got out - glad on all four,″ Moody told him.

Moody could be sentenced to up to 85 years in prison and fined $4.5 million when his punishment is decided Jan. 5. U.S. District Judge Ross Sterling allowed him to remain free on bond pending sentencing.

The verdict came after 27 hours of deliberations over five days.

Moody was accused of helping to channel money from the Moody Foundation to organizations that otherwise would not have gotten grants in exchange for kickbacks. Moody faces similar charges in a second indictment that has not gone to trial.

Prosecutors said Moody was mired in bankruptcy and used the money to pay his personal and legal expenses.

Defense attorneys contended Moody was duped by fugitive con man William R. Pabst, who was convicted in 1985 of defrauding Atlantic Richfield Corp. of $38,000 in a charity scheme.

Moody, grandson of the late Galveston multimillionaire W.L. Moody Jr., was heir to one-eighth of the income from a family trust. In 1963, Moody signed over interests in the trust to Empire Life Insurance Co. of Alabama, of which he was president.

After the company was declared insolvent, Moody was unable to extricate his share of the trust from Empire, as Texas courts and the U.S. Supreme Court rebuffed his appeals.

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